In the face of increasing climate risk, adaptation to climate change is becoming a key focus for research, policy and practice. Since 2010, adaptation experts have met every two years under the Adaptation Futures banner to take stock of progress, lessons learned and outstanding questions in adaptation research and action.

The most recent conference, Adaptation Futures 2016: Practices and Solutions, was held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 10–13 May. It convened more than 1,700 experts from more than 100 countries, including more than 600 adaptation scholars, 400 policy-makers, 100 private-sector representatives, and 400 practitioners, making it the largest adaptation-specific gathering of experts to date.

The broad range of actors and topics covered, from the Arctic to cities, from infrastructure to food, and from governance to investment to risk assessment, is indicative of the growing importance of adaptation, and the urgency with which it is being approached around the globe.

Given the widespread and diverse engagement from the adaptation community in the conference planning and content, the conference results can be seen as a good reflection of the broad scope of challenges and solutions on the climate adaptation agenda. In other words, the conference results represent the “state of the art”, reflective of the latest advancements, methodologies, techniques and technologies employed in adaptation science and its interactions with other fields of policy and practice.

This synthesis aims to distil some high-level messages about the present state and future direction of adaptation research, policy and practice, and to provide a quick overview of the 159 conference sessions. It begins by presenting key messages from the conference, then summarizes the relevant discussions, sorted by conference themes and cross-cutting issues.

Download the synthesis (PDF, 3.2MB)